Schrag: Council needs diverse voices

A recent online post (anonymous of course) accused me of “hatred of all things City Hall.” This is absolutely not true; most of City Hall is pleasant to deal with. Council Chambers on the other hand is another matter. It has come to the point where I dread going there to testify about something that I believe in. I have both witnessed and experienced too many interruptions of calm and reasoned testimony. For myself this is an annoyance, but for others less comfortable with public testimony, it has a chilling effect and discourages involvement. Seeing this kind of treatment of others prevents some residents from even attempting to come before Council, especially if their position is one of opposition to what is being discussed.

I am not willing to abandon what I believe in and that is why I am running for a seat at the front of the room. By being elected, I hope to effect a change and make Council Chambers a pleasant place to be and more tolerant of diverse opinions. All of City Hall needs to be inviting and accountable to those who live and do business in Kenai.

Another reason for running is to bring representation to a large segment of the community that has been marginalized because of their philosophy of development; one that is not shared by some in current leadership positions. This philosophy is not anti-development, as has sometimes been charged. But one more focused on the importance of residential development as part of a healthy balance between residential and business interests. Nothing runs well when it is out of balance.

If elected to the front of the room, I will bring strength of conviction and a willingness to work in a collaborative fashion with both leadership and community members. I would appreciate your vote!

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Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

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Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

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Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

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Letters to the editor

Chuitna mine threatens Alaska way of life

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